Most Popular Girls’ Names: 130-Year Overview

We often look at the name stats of the most popular girls’ names for a year, or even a decade, but sometimes it’s enlightening to take a longer view.  Our ever resourceful and creative contributor Nephele has taken on the task of tabulating what the highest numbers of names were given to babies for each letter of the alphabet over the 130 year-period from 1880 to 2009. (Whew!– 1,430,841 Lindas!  592,450 Pamelas!)

There are some interesting surprises– even taking into consideration how the percentages for top names has changed over the years—such as the fact that there have been twice as many Annas as Anns (ethnic impact), that Bertha tops Beatrice, that Ida squeaks past Isabella (though probably not for much longer), that half of the top K names relate to Katherine, and that Ashley is the second highest ‘A’ name over the whole period.  And of course, with lesser used letters, you’ll find some highly unusual choices on the list: 352 Uyens were enough to push their name into the Top 10.

So here, for your perusal, the Top 10 most popular girls’ names for every letter of the alphabet, followed by the total number given over that entire period.  Boys will follow tomorrow.

A

1. Anna 844,721

2. Ashley 810,539

3. Amanda 775,095

4. Amy 673,333

5. Angela 650,496

6. Alice 536,538

7. Ann 466,050

8. Andrea 407,937

9. Amber 361,061

10. Annie 341,551

B

1. Barbara 1,430,841

2. Betty 997,901

3. Brenda 603,062

4. Beverly 375,746

5. Brittany 352,737

6. Bonnie 321,710

7. Brianna 217,433

8. Bertha 207,288

9. Beatrice 186,749

10. Bernice 181,213

C

1. Carol 814,860

2. Cynthia 703,453

3. Catherine 644,294

4. Christine 581,231

5. Carolyn 551,816

6. Christina 467,239

7. Cheryl 438,617

8. Crystal 324,138

9. Charlotte 272,679

10. Connie 265,669

D

1. Dorothy 1,103,983

2. Donna 829,179

3. Deborah 737,433

4. Debra 549,812

5. Diane 516,998

6. Doris 460,976

7. Denise 368,965

8. Danielle 356,205

9. Diana 347,092

10. Dawn 288,111

E

1. Elizabeth 1,551,446

2. Emily 740,527

3. Evelyn 496,781

4. Emma 494,711

5. Erin 303,513

6. Edna 293,335

7. Ethel 278,507

8. Ellen 269,584

9. Edith 262,069

10. Eleanor 254,466

F

1. Frances 585,173

2. Florence 333,857

3. Faith 106,484

4. Felicia 89,968

5. Fannie 84,350

6. Flora 66,626

7. Faye 65,947

8. Freda 42,282

9. Fern 35,984

10. Francine 35,405

G

1. Grace 429,853

2. Gloria 406,620

3. Gladys 265,543

4. Geraldine 208,895

5. Gail 201,434

6. Gertrude 176,637

7. Gina 150,941

8. Georgia 141,005

9. Gabrielle 116,286

10. Gwendolyn 112,280

H

1. Helen 1,011,952

2. Heather 521,812

3. Hannah 374,321

4. Hazel 231,918

5. Holly 194,270

6. Haley 143,712

7. Heidi 134,849

8. Hailey 116,056

9. Hattie 95,380

10. Harriet 87,366

I

1. Irene 348,029

2. Ida 184,942

3. Isabella 178,122

4. Isabel 98,536

5. Irma 72,706

6. Iris 68,620

7. Isabelle 66,969

8. Inez 66,872

9. Iva 36,779

10. Ina 33,293

J

1. Jennifer 1,452,361

2. Jessica 1,028,351

3. Janet 554,177

4. Joyce 504,518

5. Julie 501,804

6. Joan 479,142

7. Jean 457,135

8. Judith 449,679

9. Julia 425,686

10. Jacqueline 409,931

K

1. Karen 978,990

2. Kimberly 810,987

3. Kathleen 708,239

4. Katherine 605,781

5. Kelly 464,649

6. Kathryn 442,215

7. Kathy 332,278

8. Kayla 309,565

9. Katie 225,568

10. Kristen 214,666

L

1. Linda 1,448,243

2. Lisa 961,852

3. Laura 785,814

4. Lauren 440,612

5. Lillian 384,868

6. Lori 339,795

7. Lois 331,131

8. Louise 330,872

9. Leslie 257,808

10. Lucille 215,861

M

1. Mary 4,100,822

2. Margaret 1,230,897

3. Michelle 794,026

4. Melissa 740,752

5. Martha 545,061

6. Marie 531,851

7. Maria 518,934

8. Mildred 449,919

9. Megan 425,971

10. Marilyn 364,816

N

1. Nancy 998,423

2. Nicole 565,999

3. Natalie 288,996

4. Norma 276,602

5. Nellie 147,988

6. Naomi 128,297

7. Nina 117,309

8. Nora 112,393

9. Natasha 91,321

10. Nichole 62,136

O

1. Olivia 286,351

2. Opal 67,675

3. Olga 60,879

4. Olive 46,206

5. Ollie 40,504

6. Ora 38,743

7. Ola 29,430

8. Odessa 17,014

9. Ophelia 15,221

10. Octavia 14,451

P

1. Patricia 1,568,194

2. Pamela 592,450

3. Phyllis 322,142

4. Peggy 292,366

5. Paula 275,345

6. Pauline 225,367

7. Pearl 152,708

8. Patsy 119,155

9. Paige 118,220

10. Priscilla 113,729

Q

1. Queen 13,515

2. Quinn 7,686

3. Quiana 3,854

4. Queenie 3,421

5. Qiana 2,490

6. Quincy 2,430

7. Quanisha 1,535

8. Quintina 1,017

9. Quianna 837

10. Quanesha 686

R

1. Ruth 815,076

2. Rebecca 731,800

3. Rachel 544,625

4. Rose 468,660

5. Ruby 321,870

6. Robin 287,684

7. Rita 281,489

8. Rhonda 207,710

9. Renee 181,655

10. Regina 172,937

S

1. Susan 1,118,529

2. Sarah 1,033,595

3. Sandra 870,102

4. Stephanie 725,135

5. Sharon 718,835

6. Shirley 683,628

7. Samantha 520,751

8. Sara 405,508

9. Shannon 292,524

10. Sheila 236,709

T

1. Teresa 409,717

2. Theresa 401,444

3. Tammy 331,239

4. Tiffany 330,042

5. Tina 290,129

6. Taylor 284,130

7. Tracy 249,862

8. Thelma 224,983

9. Tara 171,393

10. Terri 145,485

U

1. Ursula 14,319

2. Una 7,339

3. Unique 5,408

4. Ula 1,534

5. Uma 816

6. Ura 507

7. Uriah 491

8. Uniqua 482

9. Ulanda 364

10. Uyen 352

V

1. Virginia 643,864

2. Victoria 428,909

3. Valerie 242,206

4. Vanessa 235,395

5. Veronica 209,649

6. Vivian 183,455

7. Vicki 153,072

8. Vera 132,304

9. Viola 129,705

10. Vickie 109,867

W

1. Wanda 280,749

2. Wendy 257,731

3. Willie 146,090

4. Wilma 139,446

5. Whitney 91,798

6. Winifred 42,499

7. Willa 22,400

8. Winnie 22,323

9. William 15,786

10. Wendi 14,407

X

1. Ximena 7,310

2. Xiomara 5,711

3. Xochitl 3,839

4. Xenia 2.016

5. Xitlali 1,279

6. Xena 1,273

7. Xochilt 1,224

8. Xitlaly 1,154

9. Xavier 775

10. Xaviera 582

Y

1. Yvonne 154,288

2. Yolanda 111,390

3. Yvette 61,821

4. Yesenia 36,466

5. Yasmin 16,716

6. Yadira 11,358

7. Yasmine 10,942

8. Yazmin 6,622

9. Yessenia 6,559

10. Yajaira 4,989

Z

1. Zoe 73,848

2. Zoey 24,006

3. Zelma 16,648

4. Zella 11,309

5. Zelda 11,279

6. Zora 6,684

7. Zola 6,359

8. Zoie 5,943

9. Zaria 5,881

10. Zena 4,899

Plenty to chew on here—did you find anything particularly interesting or surprising?

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comments

38 Responses to “Most Popular Girls’ Names: 130-Year Overview”

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Taye Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 1:41 am

“Unique 5,408”. Lol!

Elle Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 4:17 am

I was wondering what the “q”, “u” and “x” list would look like…lol!
I’m actually surprised the number for Sarah isn’t higher.

pam Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 8:28 am

Wow, this is dazzling, Nephele, thank you!

olivegreen Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 8:37 am

Really interesting! I’m kind of surprised Violet didn’t make the list, but Viola and not one, but two spellings of Vicki/Vickie did. I wonder if that will change in the coming years?

mermuse Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 10:18 am

Surprised by Heidi, but I’ve always liked that name, so that’s cool.

Vanessa Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 10:46 am

Great list! It looks to me like a lot of these names are baby boomer names. The period of time that had highest number of babies born in America, also yielded the least variety of names. For example, in 2009 the number of baby girls given a Top 5 name totaled 89,502 and at the height of the baby boom in 1947 almost 100,000 baby girls were given the top name Linda. You don’t hear Barbara, Susan, Patricia, Mary and Linda as often any more.

Whitney Gigandet Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 10:48 am

This is an amazing LIST! I was shocked by William for a girls’ name… really??

suzanne Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 11:01 am

Wowsa! That’s a lot of work. Thanks for the list. This is something I wondered but would never have the time to do myself. Fantastic!

suzanne Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 11:07 am

Queen? #1? Really? No doubt Quinn will take that over soon.

suzanne Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 11:11 am

I teach at a very hispanic school in Tucson. Many of the Y and X names are very cultural here.

pdxlibrarian Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 11:20 am

Whitney, William was the name that most surprised me as well. Do you think that girls named William go by Willa as a nickname?

suzanne Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 11:32 am

The Millionaire Club (ordered starting with most popular):
1. Mary – 4,100,822
2. Patricia – 1,568,194
3. Elizabeth – 1,551,446
4. Jennifer – 1,452,361
5. Linda – 1,448,243
6. Barbara – 1,430,841
7. Margaret – 1,230,897
8. Susan – 1,118,529
9. Dorothy – 1,103,983
10. Sarah – 1,033,595
11. Jessica – 1,028,351
12. Helen – 1,011,952

Almost Millionaires (900,000+)
13. Nancy – 998,423
14. Betty – 997,901
15. Karen – 978,990
16. Lisa – 961,852

Ruth Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I’m so happy my name was the top R name! It even beat my sister’s name Rachel! 🙂

Lyndsay Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Suzanne, I was about to compile that list myself, I can’t believe Patricia is number two! And how strange that Katherine doesn’t even make the list. I just added up the numbers for the three variants on this list (Katherine, Catherine and Kathryn) and they number 1,692,290 which would make her number two!

Also, if you combine Anna, Ann and Annie, they number 1,652,322. Making the top five Mary, Katherine*, Anna*, Patricia, Elizabeth… Still seems weird that Patricia is in there… If you combine Elizabeth and Betty, they number 2,549,347. Second only to Mary.

My biggest surprise was William for sure. I’m also surprised that Anne didn’t make the cut. This definitely shows how many baby boomers were born! And also how trends didn’t move as fast in the early part of the century as they do now. And like Suzanne, I know many Hispanic girls with some of the X and Y names.

My name is practically the only one in my whole family that isn’t on this list. I don’t know if I’m happy or bummed about that.

Nephele, you are amazing! What a great idea to figure this out!

Nephele Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I’m glad everyone is enjoying these statistics! As for the oddity of “William” being one of the top W girls’ names… I suspect much of that has to do with SSA compiling errors when it came to gender. I really don’t imagine that “William” was ever a popular name for girls, but because the “W” names for girls have never really been in abundance, errors such as “William” for girls would make it to a “Top Ten W Names” list for girls.

spotlightstarlit Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

All hail Nephele!

The most interesting for me are the ‘G’ names.

My sister, my future daughter, and I’s names are all accounted for.

Grace, Gabrielle and Gwendolyn. How funny!

Names I am surprised to see:

Andrea
Hazel
Iva
Ina
Judith
Lucille (I would have thought Lucy would have ranked higher)
Ollie
Regina
Thelma
Willie
William
Xavier
Xaviera (I would have thought Xanthe would make an appearance over these two)

I think someone should do this again, but look at the least-used names for this time! Wow, can you imagine some of the hidden gems?

sadiesadie Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Not surprised Sarah made this list, but thought it would be first. But William? Really?

suzanne Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Thanks for the extra thoughts and combos Lyndsay. My thought process hadn’t taken me there yet. I was surprised by Patricia, too. Deborah seemed odd, as I’ve only met a very small handful. That must have been before my time. Same with Nancy. Still, no one comes close to Mary ecspecially if you add in Marie and Maria (5,151,607 total). Strange considering Mary has been bumped out of the top 100 as of 2009 (102), Marie is at 571, and Maria is barely hanging in at 71.

suzanne Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Deborah and Debra combined makes 1,287,245. I need to stop posting today and get some work done.

Anna Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

WOW very cool 🙂

pam Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Interesting that there are only 11 names over a million (did I count that right?), but only one over 2 million — Mary, which blows every other name out of the water in terms of numbers.

katybug Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I was surprised by the popularity of nickname-names: more Hatties than Harriets, Tammy at #3 on the T list but no Tamara in the top 10, etc.

ycw Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Awesome post. Makes my little namegeek heart sing.

SJ Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Great post! Thanks for all the hard work!

CarrotCake Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 7:33 pm

This is so interesting! It made me happy to see my name (Anna) as the most popular “A” name. 🙂

linda Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 8:22 pm

In terms of numbers, you’ll see a very different picture with the boys tomorrow–with two names over FIVE million, two over four and two over three.

Gingersnap Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 9:26 pm

This list is one of the reasons that I love Nameberry! I was surprised to see my name on the list at all, even at number 10 in the Rs. I didn’t meet another Regina until I was in high school.

Emmy Jo Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Wow, Nephele! Great list!

One of my newly-discovered favorites is on this list — Zella.

Becca Says:

January 6th, 2011 at 11:19 pm

This is a great list and I’m sure it took awhile to put together so thanks! Great job!

stephanie_elizabeth Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 12:19 am

Wasn’t surprised to see my name (and the name of a lot of my friends!) on that list. Thanks for all the hard work, Nephele. Can’t wait to see the boys names tommorow.

kristen Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 3:12 am

Hey! My name made it! I’m actually pretty surprised by it. Great list!

trich323 Says:

January 7th, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Sarah will undoubtedly surpass Susan in the near future. Sarah’s still used a lot and Susan isn’t.

ammimiam Says:

January 8th, 2011 at 12:59 am

Uyen is a Vietnamese name. Weird that it’s on here, my jaw sort of dropped. 😉

Vicky Says:

January 9th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

My name is Vicky, and I have always considered that to be the “proper” spelling, so I was surprised to see Vicki and even Vickie on the list, but not Vicky! And I loved the names for the unique letters- awesome!

http://www.namestory.wordpress.com

elyza brusola burac from albay Says:

January 10th, 2011 at 8:12 am

whoaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!

Caroline Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I can’t believe that in 130 years, Caroline is does not make that list.

Ruth Says:

July 27th, 2011 at 2:35 am

Wow, other people besides my mother have named their baby, Ruth!!! Why don’t my own children choose it too!?

ferntailwp Says:

December 13th, 2011 at 2:14 am

Wow, I never thought Fern would top the list, and earlier I saw Athene being mentioned (I think it was on a celebrity name blog). If Charcoal became popular I’d be all out of unique nicknames! Heh, no matter. My given name is Eros and on top of that I’m a girl!

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